Welfare State, Theory of the

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Welfare State, Theory of the


a contemporary bourgeois-reformist apologist theory about the nature of capitalist society and the bourgeois state that portrays the state as a force eliminating the injustices of the capitalist system and guaranteeing the growth of the well-being of the broad masses of the population. It represents part of the false idea of the transformation of capitalism into a new social system. Its theoretical sources are Keynesianism and reformist ideology. As an independent conception, the idea of the “welfare state” became widespread after World War II (1939–45) and became an integral element of official bourgeois propaganda and also of various party platforms and programs (including those of the Labor Party in Great Britain and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan).

According to the “welfare state” conception, the bourgeois state in the past took a position of nonintervention with regard to the social injustices of the capitalist system, but it has now become transformed into a force that supposedly opposes the monopolies and secures social harmony. The development of state-monopoly capitalism after World War II, accompanied by the increased interference of the bourgeois state in the economy and the successful struggle of the workers for social gains in many capitalist countries, was used for propagandizing the idea of the “welfare state.” Supporters of this “theory.” seeing the attractive force of the idea of socialism, have also striven to create the impression that the potentialities of socialism are also characteristic of the “new” capitalist state.

In reality, the theory of the “welfare state” represents a veiled form of defense of state-monopoly capitalism, under which the bourgeois state is used by the monopolies to strengthen their economic power and to increase the exploitation of the working masses. The restrictions set up by the bourgeois state on the activities of individual monopolies in certain cases is directed at the maintenance of the interests of the capitalist class as a whole. The socioeconomic conquests of the working masses in the capitalist countries are not the result of the activities of the bourgeois state but the result of a fierce class struggle. Communist and workers’ parties, struggling against reformist and bourgeois ideology, are exposing the apologist nature of the conception of the “welfare state.”


Programma KPSS: Priniata XXII s”ezdom KPSS. Moscow, 1971. Part 1, section 7.
Zawadski, S. “Gosudarstvo blagodenstviia.” Moscow, 1966. (Translated from Polish.)
Guliev, V. E. Imperialisticheskoe gosudarstvo: Ocherk kritiki burzhuaznykh teorii. Moscow, 1965.
lakovleva, L. A. Kritika leiboristskoi apologii sovremennogo burzhuaznogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.